Case Study - The persistent complainer becomes harasser to management | WISE Workplace


A departmental staff member was a persistent complainer, filing complaints with HR, OH&S and management while employed by the department.

The staff member's line manager who complained that the staff members' conduct was stressful and harassing in its nature lodged a grievance.

The line manager provided a detailed written letter to HR, lodged a workers compensation claim and took stress leave.

WISE was engaged to manage the grievance to prevent a perception of conflict of interest. WISE was mindful of the likelihood of a counter complaint from the staff member.


To investigate the grievance complaint and other background issues and recommend appropriate action.


WISE conducted in-depth interviews with the complainant and the staff member.

WISE took a written statement and used audio equipment to record the staff member's responses.  

The staff member presented with very challenging behaviour that was managed in a professional and human manner.  

When the staff member refused to participate in the grievance process the outcome of the grievance was a recommendation for disciplinary action against the staff member.

The department took the advice and engaged a different investigator to undertake a disciplinary investigation into the staff members conduct.

Strategic Outcomes

The final outcome for the department was the dismissal of the staff member and the effective return to work of the line manager who felt supported and vindicated by the process.

The organisation was confident they had followed due process. This minimised its risk of being subject to further legal action by the staff member.

A later appeal court hearing supported the department's actions based on the thorough process it had followed in making the decision to dismiss the staff member.